3.7 million refugee children are out of school

For most of us, education is how we feed curious minds and discover our life’s passions. It is also how we learn to look after ourselves – how to navigate the world of work, to organize our households, to deal with everyday chores and challenges.

For refugees, it is all that and more. It is the surest road to recovering a sense of purpose and dignity after the trauma of displacement. It is – or should be – the route to labour markets and economic self-sufficiency, spelling an end to months or sometimes years of depending on others.

Cash assistance for accessing to education

Cash assistance, when paired with education programmes, have become a useful tool to address barriers to access education in a variety of contexts. Over the past 25 years, UNHCR has increasingly used cash assistance to support the education of refugees and others of concern, while also preserving their right to make choices about their own needs. Where functioning markets and schools exist, cash assistance have proven effective in supporting the access to education.

Access to Quality Education

Physical access

  • Cash assistance supports transport costs to ease physical access barriers in both urban and camp settings.
  • Cash assistance can cover the additional cost that disabled students may face in trying to access education.

Financial access

  • Cash assistance can reduce the financial barriers to access quality education, through covering costs such as school fees, school supplies, exam fees and cash for sanitary items for girls.
  • Education cash payments range in size from covering the cost of a small amount of food or bus ticket(s) to university scholarships, including living expenses.
  • The actual costs of cash assistance should be calculated according to the number of children in school attendance age and consider other opportunity costs (e.g., loss of the child’s contribution to the family income).


  • Cash assistance can help people realise the added value of education and encourage school enrolment.
  • Conditional cash may encourage vulnerable groups to enroll in and attend school.
  • Cash assistance can be implemented alongside other social services, such as host community language lessons to encourage social cohesion and educational achievement.
  • Food vouchers for education can be used to incentivize education while also providing nutrition to students and their families.

Cash is a critical modality in education and should be used – along with other core education activities – to facilitate access to education at all levels. Increasing evidence exists of the positive impact of cash assistance on school attendance and educational outcomes. Please start to make change today, your generous contribution can make a difference to improve the access of education which can benefit refugee children who are out of school!

Where your money goes*.

HK$93 out of every HK$100 donated goes directly to refugee families.
Cash assistance restores a sense of normalcy and independence allowing
families to choose where they spend their money.